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Vigil held for Sacramento City College football player that died after practicing

FOX 40


CLARKSBURG -- A close-knit community is grieving the loss of a Sacramento City College football player who collapsed during practice and died Monday.

His Delta High School alma mater in Clarksburg held an emotional candlelight memorial for 19-year-old Justin McAllister on Thursday.

Craig McCallister, his father, spoke to the hundreds gathered at the school's football field.

"It was such an honor to be his father and to watch him grow in those short 19 years and see the impact on lives," Craig McAllister said.

The pain on so many faces was easy to see in this community.

"He was a sweetheart," classmate Riley Hayes said. "He was the gentlest of giants."

"He touched everybody," said Delta High Head Coach Timothy Rapp. "You can see it right there with his smile, he jokes with you, he played with you, but he loved you."

Justin graduated from Delta High last year. The 6' 7", 270-pound offensive lineman collapsed at Sacramento City College football practice Monday. He died at the hospital.

The outpouring of emotions at this memorial showed how much he is missed.

McAllister's family arrived at this memorial, arms embraced. A mother and father, a twin brother, and a younger brother - the starting quarterback for the Delta High School football team - surrounded and supported by this community in grief.

Justin McAllister's twin brother Jack is a student at Cal State Monterey Bay, per the Sacramento Bee.

"As I look out there I see so many memories of Justin," Craig McAllister said.

This gentle giant on the football field is suddenly gone. His impact on everyone here leaves a powerful picture.

"Thank you for coming," Craig McAllister said.

Sacramento City College and Delta High School both play this weekend in what will be emotional games.

The McAllister family says they will be starting a scholarship in his honor at both schools. 

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